To Whom It May Concern,
I am done with the NCAA Tournament. You hear me?! Done. Finitio. Finished. Not having it. My heart can not take it anymore; the parity, the gut wrenching moments, the intriguing story lines that layer even the seemingly most mundane of matchups. Yeah okay, I get it the game has slowed down to borderline lows in terms of pace (to illustrate this point, NCAA tourney regular North Carolina averaged 71.9 possessions per game this season ranking them top 15 in the nation; ten years ago that same number would have them sitting outside the top 85) and players are slave to coaches draconian systems to the point of canceling out individual talents. However, that is not enough to keep me around. I pine for the days of old when I knew without much of a shadow of a doubt that the powerhouse programs would be there at the end, there was less mystery involved. I could very well ignore a first round game between Indiana and Wichita State because there is no way some also-ran upstarts from Kansas could stand up to the might of the Hoosiers. I do not recognize the game that I see before me today and enough is enough.
Now before you attempt to win back my adoration by peppering me with how I need to be able to grow with the sport and recognize the historic times I am living in. I understand that the Kentucky Wildcats are on the verge being the first team since the Bob Knight led Indiana Hoosiers went 32-0 in 1976. I get that the advent of the one-and-done means that senior laden teams from mid-major conferences have a chance to run deep in the tournament due to freshman inexperience on the rosters of your normal powers. I understand that we now get a chance to get a glimpse of the future as those same one-and-done players ply their trade on the biggest stage of their life (side bar: pun intended, when we going to stop faking the funk as if they are really student athletes and just call them apprentices who keep the fat cats fat for free.99, but that is an article for another time). I see how older heads such as Steve Fisher and Larry Brown are being rejuvenated at little known institutions carrying them to relevancy at SDSU and SMU respectively. I notice how young coaching minds like Shaka Smart of VCU are out gaming the old guard with brilliant play calling and aggressive concepts, all the while ignoring the advances of bigger programs to focus on building their own legacies. I get that scandals and general lack of institutional control is forcing legends out of their jobs earlier than expected and I should cherish the moment I still have them (Jim Boheim I hate it had to him, bet he wishes he still had Carmelo and Hakeem Warrick with him shooting in the gym). However, as much as I love a good old-fashioned scandal, I have become disenchanted and no matter what you say I doubt it will be enough to woo your way back into my good graces.
Old-Timey Cynical Nostalgia
PS. If you somehow could convince Jim Calhoun to do a reality show about his life post basketball, I might be swayed because does Calhoun really seem like the kind of guy who has hobbies that do not include hoop? His assimilation back into life as a civilian would be must see TV, let’s make this happen!
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